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25 years of developing, growing and connecting

Bever Innovations celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Starting out as a technical design and consultancy firm, Bever Innovations has grown into an international specialist in intelligent LED products for the petrol retail market, industry and horticulture sector. Together with directors Jacco de Ronde, Erwin Dingemanse and Rutger van Dierendonck, we look back on 25 years of entrepreneurship, in which development, growth and connecting systems have always been the connecting factors.

1996 ...

Bever Innovations started in 1996 as a technical design and consultancy firm, specialising in electronic products for the business market. From a wooden log cabin in a back garden on the island of Schouwen-Duiveland, founders Remko Delfgaauw and Michel den Brabander also provided maintenance and service for a large number of electronic roller blind displays (in price signs) at petrol stations. "Both men soon discovered that there was a need for more automation. For example, to simplify processes and to improve contact with (passing) customers," says Jacco. "They picked up the gauntlet and developed a specific data communication technique that, with the help of a Powerline Modem, made it possible to present the data from the tank computer simply and clearly on the price displays. A godsend, because pulling extra cables was no longer necessary. Instead, price displays could be automated with the use of the existing main connection. Also a novelty then was, thanks to a Site Alarm Server, any fault messages could be easily detected."

A Bever Innovations LED price display

Following on from the data technology, Bever Innovations started developing its own (LED) price display for electronic price signs in 2004. "The I-Catcher LED display still stands out because of its innovative 'constant current' technology, excellent visibility and competitive price," says Rutger. "The selected LEDs ensure excellent visibility from any vantage point and under any circumstances. What's more, the display's unique structure guarantees great flexibility in terms of appearance and dimensions. With the introduction of the multi-segment display, an extensive range of fonts, colours and dot positions became possible, matching the corporate style of various oil companies."

GROWING FAST - NEW hq'S

Three years after starting their business, the so-called "Bever brothers" swapped their log cabin for their first office location on Haringvlietplein in Zierikzee, with glass windows and "real" offices, which soon needed to be expanded again. Seven years later, a move to Industrieweg followed. Since 2019, Bever Innovations has been based in a 2,551 m² new building on the Techniekweg in Zierikzee. The new head office is all-electric and almost completely self-sufficient. Where heat pumps and intelligent LED lighting guarantee optimal working comfort, open and transparent office spaces ensure that employees can communicate more quickly and effectively and that their creativity is stimulated.
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From service company to product developer

Bever Innovations took its first steps on the international market in 2005, says Jacco. "In that year, we grew from a service company to a product developer and supplier. An enormous transition. Nevertheless, we never lost sight of service. When developing our products, we still focus on quick and easy assembly, minimal maintenance and a very favourable Total Cost of Ownership. Moreover, sustainability, circularity and socially responsible innovation play an important role. This is reflected not only in the materialisation, finish and packaging of our products, but also in their production. Our LED products are manufactured in three social workshops in Zeeland. Here we create a stimulating environment for people with physical or mental disabilities and we contribute to more employment for people with a distance to the labour market. By producing close to home, we retain maximum control over our production. Moreover, we can guarantee short delivery times.
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Introduction to the LED lighting market

With the successful introduction of the I-Catcher LED displays, Bever Innovations was quickly well known as LED specialist. "We were in regular contact with oil companies, who were facing the same challenges," says Rutger. "Metal halide lamps in canopies broke down quickly, replacing them/working at heights involved safety risks. Shell, among others, was looking for LED lighting solutions with a long(er) lifetime, which would also significantly reduce energy consumption. With the LS LED canopy luminaires, which were introduced in 2009, we anticipated perfectly on that demand."

Erwin: "As an organisation, we have more of an automation background than a lighting background. Instead of a one-to-one replacement for the metal halide luminaire, we developed more from a connectivity point of view. This meant that the luminaires, for example, could be controlled and adjusted directly from the ground using a remote control, thus ensuring the right light output on the right position on the floor. In addition, we added infrared motion detection, which prevents unnecessary lighting and saves even more energy. A 'smooth dimming' function also ensures a gradual transition between minimum and maximum light intensity."

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The LS LED luminaires have been specifically developed for situations where extreme environmental factors come into play and/or the elements have free play. The fixtures are extremely resistant from tropical to even arctic conditions, says Jacco. "The housing is completely dust and waterproof (IP67). In addition, thermal protection is built in. This, in combination with optimal colour fidelity, dynamic control and considerable energy savings, meant that the LS LED luminaires were welcomed by the petrol retail market with open arms." In no time, in addition to Shell, our product could be found on BP, Esso, Q8 and Total petrol stations. The luminaires can be found on petrol sites in many countries worldwide."

New management, new strategy

In 2013, Bever Innovations was handed over by Remko Delfgaauw and Michel den Brabander to four employees: Jacco de Ronde, Erwin Dingemanse, Rutger van Dierendonck and Jeannot Bruggeling, who left Bever Innovations in 2018. Under their inspiring leadership, Bever Innovations has made great strides. Both nationally and internationally. For example, by becoming a preferred supplier of other major oil companies in addition to Shell, says Dingemanse. "In addition to the company-owned stations, we started to focus on dealer-owned locations. We have expanded our sales team with local sales people in most European countries, South America, Australia, Africa and the Far East, who are familiar with the local market wishes and customs and speak the local language. I dare to say that this has been one of our best decisions. We are now the preferred supplier to Motor Fuel Group, which, with over 900 sites, is the largest independent petrol station operator in the UK."

Expansion towards industry

In 2014, the LS LED canopy luminaires were adapted for the industrial market, where specific and extreme conditions also often apply. "Under petrol station canopies, LED luminaires of 5700 Kelvin (daylight) are used in most cases, which makes the environment look fresh and clean," says Erwin. "However, if you use this colour in buildings, employees would suddenly look not so good. In addition, objects with 5700 Kelvin are not illuminated in a colourful way. That is why we have added luminaires with 3000 and 4000 Kelvin and a higher CRI value (colour rendering index) to our range especially for industry. We can place various lens profiles/optics over these LEDs as well." Jacco: "All LS Industry LED luminaires are also equipped with a Long Range motion sensor. As soon as movement is detected in a room, the luminaire automatically switches up to a predetermined light level. If required, the surrounding luminaires are also activated, guaranteeing optimum safety and the best (working) light in every location." 
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First steps in the horticultural sector

Following the LS LED luminaires, the Ambiente area lighting, the Cubiq luminaires, LED Contour lighting and LED Shop lighting have also been adapted for the industry. Furthermore, in 2017 Bever Innovations expanded its sales area towards the horticulture market, where LED lighting has a major impact on the development and growth of, for example, plant tissues, seeds and small plants. "This step is also the result of a direct demand from the market," Erwin explains. "For years, fern propagation company VitroPlus has been growing indoors, in a climate cell and in multiple layers. However, with the strongly growing demand for high-quality fern varieties, space became an issue. Could this be solved within the existing space?" Rutger: "From a healthy curiosity and urge to develop and with an extensive knowledge of LED techniques, we set to work. Our first prototype was an LED plate that could be mounted in the existing racks. However, we soon realised that we could integrate and optimise techniques even better with a complete grow cart. The result was the 15-layer Leaf Carrier, which enabled Vitro Plus to store three times as many products in the same number of square metres. This mobile growing cart is now also available in 10 and 7 layers and in a watertight version.
"The Leaf Carrier guarantees maximum yield and growing area per square metre of floor space and minimum energy consumption per plant," says Jacco. "The integrated LED lighting also bundles the red and blue light that is essential for plant cultivation at the source, so that each plant on the trolley receives exactly the right colour spectrum. Combined with optimal heat distribution, the Leaf Carrier ensures an even emergence and growth of plants and tissues. Thanks to the integration of the Bever Innovations EOS technology and app growers can also (pre)programme switching on and off times and adjust light intensities. Both per growing cart and per layer and exactly according to the (cycle) needs of their products."
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EOS technoloGY

"Connecting systems has been a common theme running through our (product) developments since our founding in 1996," Jacco emphasizes. "Since 2016, we have been using our in-house developed EOS technology for this purpose, which is cleverly and invisibly built into the lighting fixtures, among other things. The luminaires can then be connected plug-and-play at the petrol station, in and/or around buildings, retaining any existing infrastructure as far as possible." After installation, the LED luminaires automatically form a standalone, wireless network. "They pass information to each other 24/7, without any connection to the internet. For example, information about movements, daylight levels and temperatures, which can be used to intelligently switch light levels up and down and ensure optimum visibility, safety and energy efficiency."
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Thanks to EOS, petrol station operators can view the status of their (lighting) products, energy consumption or even malfunctions 24/7, adjust the brightness of luminaires and/or (de)activate daylight and motion sensors. Individually, but also in groups. And both on location and remotely, which offers significant advantages for manned and unmanned petrol stations, says Jacco. "In addition, the wireless EOS platform offers possibilities for asset management and predictable maintenance, which can lead to significant savings in service, maintenance and energy costs." In the industry, lighting plans, business processes and routes, among other things, can be optimised on the basis of recorded presence, lighting strengths and energy consumption. "Links to alarm, fire and building management systems ensure optimum safety. In the event of an emergency, all the lighting immediately switches to full power, allowing the building to be evacuated quickly and safely without having to take drastic measures on the lighting system. Our ambition for the coming years is to develop these technologies even further."
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